How to Build a Team of Leaders

By empowering your people, you will enable them to perform.

Written by Sally Percy on May 12, 2022

There is a major misconception when it comes to leadership and teams. And that is the notion that a team has just one leader.

Of course, the reality is that teams do usually need someone to act as an overall leader – someone with vision who performs the vital coordinating role. But a truly successful team also needs everyone in it to demonstrate leadership in some way. So, what’s the secret to building a team full of leaders?

1. Create an environment of psychological safety

Leadership involves taking risks, being accountable for failures, and accepting ownership when things go wrong. But no one is going to want to be a leader if putting themselves in that position means putting their career on the line. That’s why it’s vital to create an environment of psychological safety – one where people are not criticised or punished for speaking up, asking difficult questions or making mistakes.

2. Avoid micromanagement

Micromanagers have a tendency to monitor their team members too closely and meddle in what they are doing. Usually, they don’t mean to be annoying – they are just super-diligent types who believe they are only doing their jobs. But people perform at their best in the workplace when they feel trusted and have the autonomy to carry out their tasks in a way that suits them. Let’s leave them to get on with it.

3. Give people ownership

When we ‘own’ a task, we feel personally involved with it and that makes us work harder to secure a positive outcome. Look hard at how responsibilities are divvied up within your team. Does everyone have the opportunity to own a noteworthy task that allows them to personally shine while delivering positive results for the organisation? If not, it might be time to reallocate some tasks…

4. Invest in training and development

No one is born a great leader. We all acquire and hone our leadership skills over time. Becoming a better leader is a constant process of refinement – as thinking around leadership evolves and as people’s expectations of leaders change. Reflecting on leadership should therefore be regular practice – for everyone, at every level. All members of a team should be able to access training opportunities relating to leadership and management, regardless of their job title.

Final thought

Everyone in your team is already a leader. It’s just a case of empowering them to apply their leadership skills. Do that and you will find that you have a team of great leaders – as well as a team that outperforms.

Check out Sally's book Reach the Top in Finance: The Ambitious Accountant’s Guide to Career Success

 Pamela Millican

Sally Percy

Business, finance and leadership journalist | Leadership contributor to Forbes | Author

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